There hasnt been a lot of room in my life for baking lately. Particularly ‘just because’ baking. This weekend was the first in a long while where I didn’t have to do anything or be anywhere. Battling exhaustion from some really long working weeks, I knew I just wanted to take some time for myself.
With the boys football team playing Saturday night, I had the house to myself. I dropped him off in Richmond at 4 then headed home for some baking and much needed couch time.
Of all the things I could make, I am not sure why I decided on pistachio cupcakes. But I am so glad that I did. The batter on these was so delicious that I am only mildly ashamed to admit that I practically licked the bowl clean.
They cooked a little too quickly on the tops for my liking though, so future batches may have a little more moisture added to the batter.
That said, I really enjoyed these and that lovely pistachio flavour! The best part of just because baking? Eating all of these myself!!
I found this recipe on Annies Eats but I prefer a buttercream with my cupcakes, so I modified these a touch.
For the cupcakes:
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. shelled pistachios, divided
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
85g cream cheese, at room temperature (I used Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese)
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. coarse salt
1 teaspoon baking soda (I added this as I decided not to use ganache and wanted a fuller cupcake)
For the ganache:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
Additional pistachios, for garnish
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 325˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
Place ½ cup of the pistachios in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely ground. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, cream cheese and ground pistachios. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually mix in the sugar on medium-low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the flour and salt, and mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Coarsely chop the remaining pistachios and evenly fold into the batter with a spatula.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared liners, filling each about three quarters full. Bake, rotating halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk in small circular motions until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is smooth and glossy. Whisk in the butter until completely incorporated.
Dip the top of each cooled cupcake into the ganache to create a thin, even layer. (I like to let the ganache cool and thicken just slightly before dipping the cupcakes.) Sprinkle with additional chopped pistachios, if desired.
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature.
2 tbsp cocoa powder (I used half this amount for a not too overpowering chocolate taste)
4 oz semisweet chocolate (I used half this amount for a not too overpowering chocolate taste)
In a large, clean heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch (about 160F on an instant read thermometer), about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg white mixture until it is fluffy, cooled to room temperature and holds stiff peaks, about 6 minutes.
With the mixture on medium-low speed, add the salt and butter a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition. If the frosting appears to separate or is very liquid after the butter is added, continue to beat on high speed until it is smooth and creamy.
Melt the chocolate and whisk the cocoa powder in. Cool slightly, before adding the flavouring into the frosting mixture and beat until combined.